[Rushtalk] Who is to blame for hte VA Problems??

Carl Spitzer lynux at keepandbeararms.com
Fri Jul 24 22:27:12 MDT 2015


VA Scandals Linked to Obama


By Betsy McCaughey   |   Wednesday, 08 Jul 2015 10:44 AM 

Driven out by whistleblowers, Acting Inspector General of the Veterans
Administration Richard Griffin finally resigned last week. Good
riddance. Griffin had whitewashed and concealed information about
inadequate care and phony waiting lists and tried to retaliate against
truth-tellers. 

But don’t expect real improvement at the VA. Griffin’s successor is
another bureaucratic lifer, Lin Halliday. She’s been collecting a
paycheck from the VA Inspector General’s office since 1992, while the
deadly problems festered. President Obama seems to like that approach. 

On July 2, as Obama descended from Air Force One at a Wisconsin stop,
whistleblower Ryan Honl, a Gulf War Veteran, seized a moment on the
tarmac to urge the president to appoint an independent inspector
general. 

“If they just pick someone new from inside the agency, it will be
business as usual and the problems will continue,” Honl warned. But the
President brushed Honl off, saying VA Secretary Robert McDonald “had it
covered.”

Sorry. That’s not true.

Only the president can appoint an inspector general. Federal law
requires that the Veterans Administration, and other departments, have
outside inspectors general to guard against corruption and
mismanagement. Obama simply refuses to appoint them, allowing the vacant
offices to be filled instead by “acting” IGs like Griffin and Halliday.
These are lapdogs instead of watchdogs, compliant temporary placeholders
from inside the system. 

The VA needs a real watchdog to clean up. Vet advocates say the
president refuses to appoint one because he fears the political
consequences of more VA scandals coming to light. Better to keep the
problems hidden.

On June 3, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., held a hearing on the president’s
refusal to appoint IGs. The White House essentially told Johnson to
pound salt, that is, no one from the White House would testify. Johnson
tried to get a former White House staffer, Jonathan McBride, who is now
at BlackRock, to testify. But the White House directed McBride and
BlackRock not to cooperate.

Refusing to appoint inspectors general and then stonewalling Congress
suggests more than a smidgeon of corruption. Daniel Epstein, executive
director of Cause of Action, a good-government group, said for Hillary
Clinton’s entire tenure at the State Department, Obama refused to
appoint a permanent IG.

Consequently, “oversight” at State was in the hands of an ultimate
insider, Acting IG Harold Geisel, who had served as an ambassador under
former President Bill Clinton and remains close friends of the Clintons.
The definition of a lapdog.

It’s unlikely Hillary would have gotten away with using private emails
year after year “had there been a real watchdog in place,” Danielle
Brian, executive director of Project on Government Oversight (POGO) told
Congress. 

That’s true of the deadly mischief at the VA also. Obama has refused to
fill the inspector general’s job at the VA since December 2013. Until
last week, Griffin was the placeholder. Instead of monitoring VA
performance, he did just the opposite, covering up and punishing
whistleblowers. 

Pressured by the White House, Griffin actually changed the wording in a
draft report on vets dying at the Phoenix, V.A. in 2014 to understate
fatalities.

When the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and POGO put up a
website asking VA workers with firsthand knowledge of problems to come
forward, some 800 did. Within weeks, Griffin tried to subpoena their
names. “It had a chilling effect,” said Brian.

These are typical tricks from acting IGs, who tend to hide bad news
rather than report it. Apparently, that’s what Obama wants.

But it leaves vets out in the cold, like two I spoke with last week.
Earl Figgeroa called me about the whopping bill he’s stuck paying for a
civilian cardiologist, while the VA bureaucracy gives him the runaround.
Donald Schultz, a Vietnam vet whose VA doctor told him on March 6 he
needed emergency surgery for a hernia, complained to me that he’s still
in constant pain and waiting. Despite what Obama says, no one’s got
these vets covered. Or millions like them.

Betsy McCaughey is a patient advocate, constitutional scholar,
syndicated columnist, regular contributor on Fox News and CNBC, and
former lieutenant governor of New York. In 1993 she read the 1,362-page
Clinton health bill, warned the nation what it said, and made history.
McCaughey earned her Ph.D. in constitutional history from Columbia
University. She is author of "Beating Obamacare 2014" and "Government by
Choice: Inventing the United States Constitution." For more of Betsy's
reports, Go Here Now. 


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